Immune Imprinting

Facts for Prelims

Immune Imprinting

News: Recent studies came out with the fact that Immune imprinting in the bodies, might be making new boosters dose of COVID-19 far less effective than expected. 

About:
• Immune imprinting is a tendency of the body to repeat its immune response based on the first variant it encountered through infection or vaccination when it comes across a newer or slightly different variant of the same pathogen.
• Imprinting acts as a database for the immune system, helping it put up a better response to repeat infections.
• After the body is exposed to a virus for the first time, it produces memory B cells that circulate in the bloodstream and quickly produce antibodies whenever the same strain of the virus infects again.
• The problem occurs when a similar, not identical, variant of the virus is encountered by the body. In such cases, the immune system, rather than generating new B cells, activates memory B cells, which produce cross-reactive antibodies that bind to features found in both the old and new strains.
• These cross-reactive antibodies offer some protection but are not as effective as the ones produced by B cells when the body first encountered the original virus. 

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